Füsun A.



Montréal, CANADA
January 12
Freelance Writer - jack of all genres;master of none.
warm and genuine
I divorced my full time career of teaching after 25 years, because meanwhile I fell in love with freelance writing. Ever since, I decided to legitimize my ten-year fling which started in the new millennium. Author of: "WILL OF MY OWN - A Memoir" Available at all major book outlets. For a preview please visit: http://www.dictionmatters.com/


Editor’s Pick
APRIL 29, 2012 7:00PM

How I ducked the US customs without a passport :o)

Rate: 72 Flag


Alright. I admit. Ducking the US Customs maybe slightly misleading, because I actually did not sneak in nor was I smuggled through the border – since that is what I may have inadvertently implied. It's not my intent to sound tabloid'ish to garner readers. Nor is my writing racist. Upon much reflection on its insignificance in the universe of things, I cannot offer another way to summarize my recent experience. But please keep in mind that this piece is not about race, prejudice, nationality, or color. In fact, if you can go back to those years when we were unaware of something called Political Correctness – PC, and then remember how relaxed and happier we were, then hold onto that thought. Stay in that frame of mind until you complete reading. You'll understand my references, which otherwise some may jump upon as “racist”.

It's a long story but if I think about it, the lesson I learned from what happened is really universal. I also view it as one more peg to strengthen my belief: If something is meant to happen, it will – no matter how slim the odds are; and conversely, the well-worn adage about the “best laid plans of mice and men”.

One of the reasons O. must have been my only best friend over thirty years is that we are so alike in many ways. In others, our extreme polarity has saved us in many times of distress.

Like yesterday.

We had planned for coffee and a stroll at the market; I'd pick her up at 2:00. When I was drying my hair, my sister called announcing she was in town for the day. Thinking of two beautiful birds with one sto. . no. . no! Of a wonderful gesture, I asked her if she'd like to join us at the market. She had an hour frame between 2:00 and 3:00. Perfect!

As soon as we hung up, my sister called with an alternate plan:  Getting to the Market would lose her half an hour; instead why didn't I and O. have coffee at her place? Great idea, O. and my sister like each other very much.  My heart was beating with premature accomplishment when I dialled O. again but the answering machine picked up. I asked her to call me right back and said I'd pick her up at 1:30, not 2:00. I had a surprise.

An hour later, ready to leave, I called once again but was crestfallen to speak to the recorder and yelled at the stupid machine to be ready at the door in five minutes. I was leaving NOW! 

When I'm torn between quick decisions, equally important choices, people I love, I must fly on automatic pilot. I don't know whether I answer to reason, instinct or panic, but an unknown hand guides me. So far that hand has been benevolent, letting me get by unscathed, except with intimately shared comical memories – which, in retrospect I believe happened for a reason – with the people I love. That is a great blessing in itself.

It must have been that Benevolent Hand steering the wheel of my car which took me almost to the Canada US border yesterday, when all I wanted was to drive back from downtown Montréal to the South Shore, a fifteen minute drive over the Champlain Bridge. What happened in between was. . .

Her husband, awakened from his nap, answered the door. He had no idea where she was – may be she was gone on one of her walks. I decided to wait in my car; it's 1:34. I could make it to my sister's place in 15 minutes. It's Saturday. The bridge should be clear. . .  Five more minutes lapse and I think to myself: Oh, gosh, if she comes back from one of her power walks, she'll be sweaty and has to change! There's No way I can make it there for 2:oo! I scribble a quick story – a brief summary of what's here, and add I'll return at 3:20 to pick her up and go somewhere else – stuff it in the mailbox, and hit the highway . Aha!

I made it to my sister's flat by 2:10 – construction between René Levesque and du Maisonneuve. Time flies by. Coffee, talk, laughter, more talk, memories. . . It's 3:37! A quick hug, kiss, kiss. Roll down the window and hold hands. Blow back a kiss. Back on the Ville Marie facing the South Shore. I feel guilty for standing up O. so decided to give her a call on my car phone. (It came with the lease). O. beat me to apologies, explaining what happened (insert the absurd, here) and as I listen to her, I start enjoying the hands-free phone while I drive. So I ask if we can keep talking until I arrive at her doorstep. This will be the longest call I've made, calmly while driving, and to boot - I have over two hundred minutes to use up by the end of May. The idea entertains her too – as long as I'm careful. I can visualize her settling on the armchair.

Traffic is light, cool but sunny afternoon, and it's a different world to be driving and chatting with my best friend about philosophical – of all – things. There's an on the road, again kind of feeling in there somewhere, for me. Life is a highway. . .

I digress.

I just want to pull into her driveway and say, “I'm here!” But somehow, some mini-instant, a tiny devil or temporary cross-wiring in my brain makes me take the wrong parting of the Y on the road and drive through progressively unfamiliar looking landmarks. When I realize I may be lost, I hear her grip tighten on her phone.

She insisted COSTCO should be on my right! I never even passed one before, going to her. I was approaching silver domed churches, a lake – or maybe St Lawrence – on my right, now passing through what looked like wheat fields – they were uncut, dry hay. She was gasping, trying to picture where could I be! She was relieved hearing the municipality of Candiac. “I know that name! We lived there 25 years ago, remember?” I passed through two more names that evoked her memories until we determined that I was on my way to the US border. Seeing the “Duty Free/H'Ors Taxes” sign was somewhat helpful. My first utterance, Oh, O.! My passport is at home! was her call to calming down. While I started imagining myself dragged into detention rooms for id verification and questioning, O was sounding calm and logical. I rolled up my window to cut out excess traffic sound so I could hear her every word of wisdom.

 There used to be a turn off before the “douanes” so I should just turn around at first chance. Can you see an exit, U turn sign? Whatever you do, don't turn into any of those unfamiliar French towns!

duty free-001

almost made it 

All U turn possibilities were filled were pylons, as well as marked “illegal”, and forget the exits. Direction-wise, I cannot join the dots abstractly, period. I'm just another Evangeline, who can only re-trace her way back as the crow flies, even it means taking the longest route. That's the cautious, patient, responsible goat in me, not the ambitious, calculating, mountain-climbing one. The was tank half full, sun was still up, and I had company. . . Why not laugh and joke?

The longest route I took from my place to O.

How O. remote-directed me from USA

Why we need a GP – or do we?

How our characters may clash with a GP

If you asked a Newfie. . . *

Do you know the one about a Frenchman and a Turk?*

Thus echoed in old jokes from our culture, and offended no one. That was half of our conversation yesterday, as I drove until almost the end of the Canadian land when, just a few kilometres from the US border I saw a free U turn, took a chance, and pulled an illegal one. My senses alert for sings of sirens and lights, O. and I were right on the way back to home! The rest was easy, everything fell on its right side.

US Border

Lacolle US Canada crossing

We had planned to meet and spend the afternoon together for longer than it took my sister and me to actually do it. It wasn't mean to happen, yet my unplanned meeting with my sister against all attempts to include O. went ahead. In turn, my delay from her to pick up O. resulted in my getting lost and having the longest, yet one of the deeper, more cathartic conversations with her because I went on a 60 mile round trip with 200 minutes left on my car phone. So out of the blue, like many events in my life – big or small – that have a deeply touching effect on me.

Maybe one shouldn't try to read a meaning into everything and not make a big deal out of a small mistake. Maybe everything doesn't happen for a purpose. Maybe it is a random universe and I should get a life. Then I think again and say to myself, even if everything may not happen always for a purpose; in what does happen there's a lesson to be learned. None too big or too small. Each lesson tempers what makes us, us; and therein lies the key to finding our inner peace.

So, my friend and I named April 28, 2012 our “Border Gate”. Whenever we mention the phrase, it will trickle an entire slew of memories all with their warmth, panic, adrenaline rush, empowerment, laughter, tears. . . She's flying to Istanbul on Monday until September. That was supposed to be our mini farewell. We both agree it was the best one when we had almost two hours of undivided conversation and talked our hearts out to each other - linked by a land line and a hands off car phone - until I drowe into her driveway. Then we had tea, sat a while, hugged, and said farewell, see you in September.

I was thinking of not buying any more minutes, since I hardly use OnStar.

Now, I'm seriously reconsidering.


Füsun Atalay ~ Copyright © Will of my Own - 2012


* If you are curious about the Newfie, or Frenchman and the Turk joke, please pm me.

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I have been. . . away.
Cheers to all. ♥
FusunA, welcome back! And such a fun story to come back with. I love reading about your friends.
Oh, Fusun -- what a delightful tale. I too read meanings into things, but I only see them in retrospect, not as they are happening. Glad you got away with the U-turn unscathed, and the conversation continued. I think may-haps you'd not have had that connex had all gone according to plan. You're perty dern good at flyin' by the seat of your pants! R.
Welcome back!
Fun read :)
You and your writing were sorely missed and this story is why you were missed!

I'm glad that you have such a positive mind that you can find benefit in what had to be a harrowing day. You got to have a real and deep talk with your friend. Too cool.
Fusun, a wonderful story! These days border crossings are clearly not what they once were and it's great to read how you were able to make that u-turn just in a nick of time!
I missed you! Glad to see you back :'-)
A very fun read, ripe with introspection and quality reflection.
Refreshing. /r
Good to see you back Fusun. You must have a cool head to be able to carry on a good conversation despite the frustration of missed exits and missed plans. Entertaining read.
I trust you're ok and I am delighted you're returned to us w such a gift as this piece.

Welcome back, I missed you. Friends make all the difference in life.
Fusun: I guess it shows talking while driving is distracting with or without hands. Sounds like you had a good heart-to-heart though. Hey, that's a heavy duty border crossing there. The crossings near here over to Buffalo have no big branding letters like that! Must be strictly for those French-Canadians, eh. p.s. I want to know the Turk joke!
I am happy you did not have a miserable time.
If something is meant to happen, it will – no matter how slim the odds are;

yes. also:Maybe one shouldn't try to read a meaning into everything and not make a big deal out of a small mistake. Maybe everything doesn't happen for a purpose. Maybe it is a random universe and I should get a life.

depends on one's...ah..how to put it...proximity to the marrow,
to the beating heart of some damn purpose.
misguide ourselves into ineffectual oblivion.
other times we are central to the universe.
how to get there, dont ask me!

misguide ourselves into ineffectual oblivion.
other times we are central to the universe.
how to get there, dont ask me!"

I won't ask. But that's really so true!
Some of the best times are the ones we don't plan for--or that don't turn out as planned. And lessons everywhere, for sure. Nice post.
FusunA, missed ya! This is an interesting one and anice sort of "welcome" back.

I'll bet your posts from US Federal prison would have been interesting too had things not gone so swimmingly. Glad to see you back.
Yay! A very warm welcome back to you, Fusun! I loved every moment reading this post. Especially heartwarming is the giddy excitement of talking with your best friend in the world. There's nothing like the feeling of that deep connection. Way to make that U-ey! Rated with admiration.
Your adventure reminds me of that Rolling Stones' lyrics ..."You can't always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need..."
Welcome back! You were missed. If it makes you feel better, I once had a client accidentally ride his bike across the border from Canada into Minnesota. Of course, he ended up in immigration detention. So glad you did not! Thanks for a fun read.
Beauty1947~ Thanks for reminding that Rolling Stones song. There are 3 other songs embedded in my link, if it interests you.

Michelle, Phyllis, Songbird, DunnOwl, M.C.S, Seer, Designanator, Mary-Ann, jlslhtre, Jonathan, Abrawang, Pensive Person, Zuma, Erica, Scarlett, Mary, Sheila - thank you all for your comments and warm welcome.

Jennifer~ Imade my U Turn just before the border. Close call. :o)
I'm not sure why you prefaced this story with apologies about "racism." ??????? ... I'm confused. Still, glad you're back!
Are you sure you aren't a Newfie?:) This brought back good memories of crossing the border when we owned a cottage on St. Joe Island. I must tell the story of the time my wife almost got us thrown in jail over a frozen beef steak. Good to have you back.
Whew! That was quite the adventure, dear Fusie! So good to see you here on OS!
Hey John~ come to think of it,I did pull a Newfie! See the joke is:
Why did the Newfie turn back on the Highway when he was driwing to Montréal ?
Because the sign said: Montréal LEFT.

Dear PW - So nice to see you, what a surprise! Happy Birthday! ♥
Oh it's SOOOOO good to see you back!!!! Hopefully for a long, long time but if just a short stint, that's so much better than you not being here at all!

This was a wonderful tale of a very adventuresome day, Fusun! Yes, "the best laid plans ...." almost never seem to go according to plan, do they? : )
It is always great to see you, Fusun; welcome back my friend. Great post. R
First of all, to see that bright red flower on the right side of my computer screen makes me happy....welcome back! Secondly, are you NUTS?? :)))) A good, crazy story, Evangeline (hahaha) !! You made me laugh today!!
It's great to see you back here!

This post says so much about the perils of multitasking...but more importantly, about the power of friendship and the way things work out sometimes when it seems they're headed for disaster. I'm so glad you got to have such a wonderful bonding experience with your friend, and I wish her safe and pleasant travels!
Missed my favorite teach...Howdy.:D
A wonderful story. Am glad that you are back. Getting lost is scary.
And Oh those border chills. Have dreamed about forgetting my passport. Detention or worse! :)
Good to see you back. Great story. I'm of the random school, but doesn't mean it's not our challenge to make meaning!
I hope you have been away having fun and thank you so much for sharing your adventure! I love when life throws an adventure at you without warning :)
I wouldn't know what to do. I'd be a total panic mess. Brava to you both. R
I never pictured you with a car phone. Fancy Fusie. Great to see you back and with such a fun story to tell.
This falls into the category my best friend and I like to call 'it couldn't happen again if we tried to make it happen - but so glad it did' I love it when this happens - you have a life and I'm so glad you share it here
I hate days like that! I 've been away, too, but always happy to see you here when I am around.
Great to have you back...it seems life keeps you at bay, along with many of us. Write when you can. It's always an adventure when I come here.
Promise you won't stay away so long again. We were worried. What a great way to return.
I don't even want to think about not making that turn about and explaining US officers why you had no passaport. Yes, could've been detained for sure.
As long as you pull that U-turn on the Canadian side of the border, you're fine. You Canadians are too nice and good-hearted to issues a ticket. The American side -- oh, hell, they probably would've shot you.
I love reading imagination "drive" wild, and possible stories. Enjoyed tremendously, thank you!
I really like the lightheartedness in the tone of this piece, Fusie. What an adventure. Keep the OnStar, please. Think what would have happened if you hadn't had it.

Were you that lady I saw passing by? I wondered why you were LOL ing all by yourself in your car. ;)
Keep the OnStar. :) Great read!
You see every roadblock as an adventure, and that's awesome. Good to have you back!
Fusun, such a joy to have you back! I enjoyed this story of the treasure of friendship mixed with the abstract conversation about whether the future is predetermined.
GPS is a mixed blessing. It has kept us fron being totally lost and placed us in front a vacant site in an undeveloped business park announcing, "you have reached your destination." R
I forgot to add that I find your thoughts on P.C. to be refreshing. No understanding can be gained where there is no conversation.
Welcome back with open arms and such a lovely adventure.
I love the way you tell a story.
rated with love
I miss the un-PC way of life too like 'escrito por nada's comment. Reflective piece underneath.
Nice to read your back and your brush with the border.
My drive from Montreal to Vermont last summer had a different GPS drama. All the signs in French, and a route we didn't want to take (to the border station you approached) in the middle of THE WORST STORM EVER (there is Youtube video of my car on the side of the road, waiting out the hail). By the time we got to our little crossing station, in the middle of a marsh, with one lane, I was totally relieved I wasn't going to have to do a customs dance. BTW, your cakes fed us on our drive through the middle of all those little french towns.
Welcome back and congrats on a well-deserved EP. I REALLY DO think that You ARE warm and genuine, which are rare qualities in these parts.

All the best U-turns are illegal.
@Harrys Ghost: LOL. "All the best U-turns are illegal" OR taken ;)
Welcome back and thanks for the fun read.
This was hilarious. I love that you recognized the fact you actually had a better visit than you might have in person. I believe everything happens for a reason too, just can't always come up with the reason. Great story. Thanks for sharing it.
i had no idea where yo were *driving* with this, but what an end! i love subtlety in life lessons.
I can explain your ordeal.

Cell phones are a bit like work; when you collect too many minutes, or in the case of work, too many hours in your paid time off/holiday time, you're often forced to use them or loose them. So the cell companies and the bosses, create a paradigm shift in which you either get sick and miss work, thereby using up your PTO, or as in your case, you get lost and use up your minutes. Simple :-)

I had no idea a passport was required to come to the U.S. from Canada. I'd always assumed you just stopped, said good morning/afternoon Mr. Border Hoarder, smiled nicely and drove on through the checkpoint.

I guess that show how much I know about travel.

I'm always fascinated by the female ability to talk and talk on a moment's thought. With most men, talking to an acquaintence, it's "hey, whassup?" "naah much; how'bouch u? "naah much here either!" "see the game?" "yep diju" "yep, cool one!" "yep!" The End.
Little Kate~ Thank you, my friend. I'm sure the theme resounds with you more. Hugs over the ocean.

Thoth~ Thank you, mon ami.

Brazen Princess~ I often question my sanity. Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you laughed too.

Alysa~Thank you for your wise words. Strangely, at the time it didn't even occur to me that I was multitasking. How strange that when the mind is engaged elsewhere what results may happen.

Hi, Tim! Nice to see you.
Ande~ You look wonderful!
Spike~ Thank you.
LL2~ So nice to see you, thanks for dropping by.

Trudie~ I do panic, maybe don't show it in a conventional manner.

Fernsy~ Neither did I. Nothing fancy – I don't even know what it looks like :o)

LammChops~ “'it couldn't happen again if we tried to make it happen - but so glad it did' – Exactly! You nailed it and I'm glad enjoyed too. Thanks.

Sarah~ You are sweet. I'll try my best.

Victor~ More than probably, I'm sure. Thanks for dropping by.

Stim~ That's how I lived to write the story. :O)

Bellwether, Sarah, Trudie, Victor,~ Thank you all for your comments.

Lezlie~I think I will. This was a forward lesson. Thanks for your nudge, it helped.

Escrido por nada~ I agree about a GPS and that's why I desist one. I'd rather drive on than find myself all alone in a parking lot. There's something magical about anticipating an arrival than the arrival itself. Nice to see you.

Oryoki~I remember that torrential downpour last summer! What a time to be on the road. Happy now we can look back with nice feelings. Precious memories. . .

MarkinJapan~ Thank you, kindly.

Brianna~ Thank you, you're absolutely right. Just don't expect the reasons to be great, life changing ones all the time. Look into a glass half full, you may see more.

Boomer Bob~ Thank you for your delightful reply, I so enjoyed it. Yes, unfortunately, despite a mutual claim to being friendly neighbours, a passport is required both-ways.

Now, I don't have a cell phone. The phone I mentioned is embedded somewhere in the car. I don't even see it. To dial the number, I press the button and a voice tells me to say the number I want. It's like speaking into the air, except that I can be hearing the voice of a friend or son talking back. So, it was not that easy. You may be underestimating the male gene for gab. Under the right amount of stress or release of adrenaline, I'm sure they'd give us a run for our minute. Nice to see you here. :o)

Oops I didn't mean to forget:
Christine, Poetess, Miguela, d.white, booklover, Buffy, Okaya, emrose, raafal, e. sanders, Harry's Ghost. Thank you all for your visits and comments.
What a fun and quirky story! It's often these whimsical, unexpected moments in life- the 'wrong turns', so to speak, that bring out the real character in each passing day and, of course, in ourselves and our friendships. Here's to many more of those moments for you and yours! :-)
“in what does happen there's a lesson to be learned”
I'll try this again, it cut off my previous attempt after the quote ...

“in what does happen there's a lesson to be learned” THIS is how I see things. You’ve articulated it succinctly. The whole “everything happens for a reason” concept never worked for me. I don’t see events as destiny so much as experiences that produce history and knowledge.
I truly enjoyed this food for thought. r
your warmth comes across so much, I'll be you are a great friend and sister--
Me too! Cheers to you! Great write, BTW! xo
I didn't know Canadians neeeded a passport for US either. Quite a story for a day.
That is a Good Canadian-USA border story...especially when you are driving and writing "without borders".